December 2007

WORLD

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Thailand: Microsoft's new healthcare research hub

Following Microsoft Corp's purchase of software and assets to streamline administrative and medical record-keeping at Bangkok's Bumrungrad Hospital, Thailand has become Microsoft's worldwide healthcare research centre.

This is the third acquisition for Microsoft's healthcare group but its first outside of the United States. It gives a push to the company's plan to enter the hospital-software market. It has bought a software called Hospital 2000 and its intellectual-property rights from Luxembourg-based software company Global Care Solutions.

Global Care has worked with hospitals in this country for seven years. Its 71 Thai staff will also move with the deal. Microsoft (Thailand) would establish a healthcare research centre in Bangkok and work with Microsoft centres in China and India. The Bangkok centre will work exclusively on healthcare software for worldwide sales. The healthcare industry spends USD 30 billion each year on hardware and software worldwide.

Global Care's Hospital 2000 is an electronic-record system. Its integrated document imaging and delivery allows instantaneous scanning, storage and retrieval of both electronically generated and handwritten material. It serves both front and back office operations, including radiology, laboratories, pharmacies, discharges and transfers, registration administration and clinics and wards.

Over 25 yrs of biomedical & pharmacological records now acessible in electronic format
Thomson Scientific, part of Thomson Corporation and leading provider of information solutions to the worldwide research and business communities, announced that it has added EMBASE Classic to the Dialog (File 772) and DataStar (EM73, EMXX) platforms, providing access to more than 25 years of archived life sciences data available for the first time in electronic format.

The fully digitized database is drawn from approximately 3,400 international journal titles, with a focus on European and North American published literature including non-English language articles. EMBASE Classic contains more than 1.8 million records from the biomedical and pharmacological literature. The historical data in it, combined with up-to-date records in the EMBASE database, gives researchers approximately 60 years of information regarding medical and drug-related subjects.

Researchers can now review advancements made during an extremely fertile period for the sciences, particularly in the areas of molecular biology, marine sciences, vaccines and other drug therapies.

Orange (France) launches healthcare e-solutions
Orange Telecom (France), a long-established operator in the field of telecommunications, will present medical practitioners in France an advanced communications platform. This operation will be powered by Orange Healthcare.

Orange Healthcare is launching its first e-healthcare offering designed to improve patient comfort and care quality. Known as Connected Hospital, this “solution” comprises a number of facilities for both patients and staff. For patients there is a multimedia terminal above the bed which allows them to make phone calls, access the internet and various games, check their email and videos on demand or television, and access information about the facility and the facility's medical staff.

For healthcare professionals there are mobile terminals for “voice-data” exchange, interactive terminals, geolocalisation patient wristbands and devices that make it possible to monitor or even assist healthcare workers in isolated situations.

IBM and Beacon Equity Partners bring telemedicine to most remote island

The world's most remote inhabited island can now access advanced telemedical care, thanks to pro-bono services and support from a team led by IBM and Beacon Equity Partners (BEP). Tristan da Cunha is located over 1,665 miles west of Cape Town, South Africa, and is accessible only by a boat trip lasting over a week. Some 270 British citizens call the island home.

IBM and BEP joined Medweb, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and the Government of Tristan da Cunha in announcing the successful implementation of “Project Tristan.”  

The tested and proven remote medical solution combines medical equipment, satellite communications and remotely supported electronic health-record (EHR) technology, allowing medical experts from anywhere in the world to assist island clinicians in their daily practices with medical diagnoses and emergency support.

Until recently, the island's only physician, Dr. Carel Van der Merwe, has had to rely upon minimal technology and limited medical support. Working from a hospital without so much as its own telephone to provide care for patients

Project Tristan,which is based on open standards and runs on the Linux Operating System, is expected to greatly enhance the island's level of medical care and standard of living. The island's physician is now able to electronically capture and share medical data and information, including X-Rays and ECGs as well as pulmonary function evaluations and video camera examinations with physician consultants. Satellite communications will enable clinicians to provide real-time diagnostic advice and suggested treatments to the attending physician.

Fast forwarding cancer research using IBM World Community Grid

Canadian researchers expect to accelerate their cancer research by tapping into a global network of hundreds of thousands of people who volunteer their idle computer time to tackle some of the world's most complex problems.

The research team at the Ontario Cancer Institute (OCI), and scientists at Princess Margaret Hospital and University Health Network, are the first from Canada to use the World Community Grid, a network of PCs and laptops with the power equivalent to one of the globe's top five fastest supercomputers.

The team will use World Community Grid to analyze the results of experiments on proteins using data collected by scientists which would take conventional computer systems 162 years to complete. However, using World Community Grid, the analysis could be finished in one to two years, and will provide researchers with a better way to study how proteins function, and could lead to the development of more effective cancer-fighting drugs. 

Telemedicine in Space
AMD Telemdicine is helping to improve health care delivery in Nigeria through a nation wide telemedicine program that is using a Nigerian satellite to relay medical data and images.

Nigeria's telemedicine project is a nine-site program, funded by the country's National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) for the Ministry of health. NASRDA has installed telemedicine equipment in two Nigerian hospitals, as well as some additional federal clinics throughout the country. Additionally, NASRDA has provided a  working telemedicine clinic in a bus that will travel to the remote parts of Nigeria to provide primary healthcare services.

Furnishing connectivity for the program, Nigcomsat-1, Nigeria's advanced communication satellite, links the medical data sent from the bus to the in-country hospitals, giving patients and doctors in remote areas access to expert care.

The Nigerian telemedicine project is equipped with AMD Telemedicine's state-of-the-art stethoscopes (for heart and lungs), opthalmosopes (for eyes) , dermascopes (for skin), otoscopes (for ear/nose/throat), and general examination cameras, making it possible for remote patients to be examined for a wide range of conditions. . 

DRE, releases updated medical equipment catalog website

DRE designed the updated site www.dremed.com to allow medical professionals quickly locate the equipment they need. New features include, more prominent and effective search tool; additional product listings and updated product information; downloadable sales literature on products to provide valuable information to the buyers; fully printable catalog available for download; process of requesting product information and pricing has also been greatly simplified; using a quote cart system, customers can request pricing on entire lists of equipment at once.

New and returning customers alike will find the site much more helpful in their buying and research experience.

New device launched in France to screen breast cancer is time efficient

Anoto Digital Pen & Paper technology has helped reduce waiting lists for breast cancer screening in France by significantly shortening the time it takes to analyse mammograms. Normal turnaround times of up to 3 hrs were reduced to less than 30 minutes.

This means that breast cancer screening centres using the digital pen will be ready for the second stage of France's national 'Plan Cancer' programme, set to start early in 2008, under which, all French women between the age of 50 and 75 are offered mammography every two years.

This procedure used to be performed by administrative staff without any medical training, and was prone to errors – a risk that has been virtually eliminated by the use of Digital Pen & Paper (DPP). A visual check of the digital forms is now only required in less than five per cent of cases, giving the DPP-based solution an accuracy of more than 95%. On average, each Department runs 30,000 breast cancer scans every year. The long-term objective is to equip the 45 Departments who perform most scans with DPP technology.  

USD1 billion from India for Pan-African e-Network project
India will invest USD 1 billion in the Pan-African e-Network satellite project, a joint initiative with the Africa Union aimed at developing the region's ICT infrastructure.

The Indian government will finance the project over a period of five years through a grant to the African Union. Ethiopia for example, has been given a grant of USD 2.13 million from India for the project. In order to participate in the e-network project, African countries must sign agreements with Telecommunications Consultants India, a government enterprise. So far, 27 African countries have signed the agreement some among them are Zambia, Gambia, Ghana, Burkina.

The project will include installation of Very Small Aperture Technologies (VSATs) to carry VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) communication. The VSATs will be used for online education and telemedicine programs expected to extend ICT infrastructure to rural areas and other underserved communities. The telemedicine network will be used to share knowledge from Indian doctors with their African counterparts through an online training program.

India hopes the investment will help it sell more telecommunications equipment to Africa, including VSATs, as well as services for telemedicine and other social applications. India also wants to make inroads into Africa's ICT market before China steps up investments on the continent.  The Pan-African e-Network project was first announced by former Indian president Abdul Kalam in South Africa in 2004 and in October 2005, the Indian government and the African Union signed a MoU to formalize the project.  

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